Apparently “Tasmanian Devil” is the nickname Ken Lewis used in order to convince members of the Bank of America board (namely William Boardman, a retired Banc One vice chairman) that Brian Moynihan was the right guy to be named CEO of the bank, says the WSJ.
The “Tasmanian Devil”… Is that a compliment?
The “Tasmanian Devil” is the crazy Looney Tunes character that can’t form complete sentences. He just rolls around really fast making sand storm hurricanes everywhere he goes.
But here’s why the nickname works, says the Wall Street Journal:
- He told the board there was no time to train an outside CEO given the bank’s many challenges
- He said he wouldn’t make compensation an issue
- He had no interest in breaking up the bank
- He promised: “I will not leave if someone else is the CEO.”
- Someone on the board once tried to remind Moynihan of the advice he had given him before and Moynihan reminded him, “Yeah you told me that,” and repeated the exact advice he was about to be reminded of. Clearly it made an impression.
They say Ken Lewis calls Moynihan the “Taz” because of the way he made his way up the corporate ladder. So we’re guessing that the WSJ is going with the “He destroys everything in his path” part of the Tasmanian Devil.
Just for fun, here’s what Wikipedia says the real Tasmanian Devil, the animal, is characterised by:
- Size of a small dog, but stocky and muscular
- the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world
- pungent odour when stressed
- extremely loud and disturbing screech, and ferocity when feeding
- known to both hunt prey and scavenge carrion
- usually solitary
So the devils are really fiesty beasts in the animal Kingdom.